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Flea Treatment & Prevention at Home

Your pet has fleas, you’ve gone to your veterinary clinic and received product to treat the infestation. However, you now know it will take at least 3 months to treat your current infestation. What can you do about your home?

1. Do not miss a treatment due date, you have to do it on or before the 28-day mark. If you are late you are essentially starting from scratch as it allows a new cycle of pupa to emerge. Pupa is the life stage that is not treatable by flea prevention products, so it’s important that you do not allow the opportunity for new pupa.

2. Vacuuming – Though our automatic thought is to vacuum our carpets, this can actually make things worse in your home. The heat and vibration from the vacuum can help the new fleas hatch and create a new cycle of pupa to emerge.

3. Use a premise spray – you can typically purchase a premise spray from your veterinary clinic. These are strong pesticide sprays that need to be sprayed along baseboards, cracks in the
flooring, on furniture and anywhere fleas may be hiding. Make sure that your pets do not come into contact with the product when it’s wet. Talk to your clinic about the best product to use for
this. You should leave the premises while it is drying as well so you do not come into contact with the fumes.

4. Clean linens and beds often with hot water. This will just cut down on the excess fleas and eggs living in the fabric of dog beds and fabric.

5. Avoid using home remedies with fleas – Though home remedies can be helpful in other ways (when recommended by a veterinarian), this is one area you do not want to do that in. It’s been proven time and time again that we cannot properly and completely treat an infestation with things like apple cider vinegar, garlic (which is also VERY toxic to our pets), turmeric, diatomaceous earth etc.

6. Avoid using off-brand products – We hear this all too often, “I bought a flea product at the grocery store and it hasn’t done anything, they still have fleas!” This is because these products are not tested or formulated appropriately to treat infestations and don’t work consistently throughout the treatment period. A lot of these products are also very toxic to cats and can cause neurological symptoms, seizures and even death in cases where they do not get medical treatment.

7. Dips and flea baths – This is great for dealing with any excess adult fleas on your pet but will not treat or prevent an infestation. Opt to bathe every 2 weeks to once monthly, when you bathe your pet too often it can actually cause skin irritation and dryness which will cause the itchiness that you are trying to prevent in the first place.

8. Flea Collars – These are rarely effective for the entire duration of the treatment period and most will only kill the fleas that come into contact with the collar itself. They are not an effective way to manage an infestation.

9. And the golden ruleTREAT ALL PETS IN THE HOMEIf you only treat your dog then your cats will have an infestation. When you stop treating the dog for fleas, the fleas on the cats will hop back to the dog and you will start the infestation all over again.

Written by Dartmouth Veterinary Hospital 

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